Friday FabOoolousness – The Boo Factor: Dark Shadows

We don’t go to the movie theater often.  When we do actually go to the cinema, we rarely pick a flick on its opening weekend.  But at least once a year there is a movie release that I absolutely can’t miss — a film that I have been anxiously awaiting for months.

Readers of my blog know that I love scary movies – horror, slashers, psychological thrillers, classics, B-rated films, etc.  These are “my movies” according to my guy, and he usually insists that I see these with my girlfriends.

Two years ago, the film was the Nightmare on Elm Street remake starring Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, and Thomas Dekker.  My girls and I rushed out early on a Saturday morning to witness the “new” Freddy Krueger terrorize the teens of Springwood, Ohio.

In 2011, we again met at the theater for a Saturday morning viewing of Colin Farrell as the sexy vampire Jerry Dandridge in the remake of Fright Night – in 3-D no less.  As with Nightmare, this vampy flick put a new twist on the popular original which is exactly the kind of remake I appreciate (in most instances, not in The Clash of the Titans’ case).

But I digress…

Around December of last year, I knew exactly which film my girlfriends and I would see on its premiere weekend this year – Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows is not new; it has been around for decades, literally.  In the ’60s and ’70s, Dark Shadows aired on the ABC network as a soap opera.  Dan Curtis’ melodramatic soap put the supernatural on the map – vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, witches, etc.  It also featured time travel and aspects of parallel universes, something that is extremely popular on TV today.

The soap opera launched into a phenom craze of its own, and MGM released two feature films based on the popular hit in the ’70s: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.  Since then, the Dark Shadows franchise has grown to also include magazines, comics, and books.

In 1991, Dark Shadows aired on NBC as a primetime drama as a reimagining of the original series (also created by Dan Curtis).  The “new” Dark Shadows didn’t last past its freshman year, but the story grabbed a certain teenage girl in Midland, Texas who never missed an episode.  Yes, I’m talking about me…  Even today, I have my DVR set to record the ’91 series anytime it airs in syndication on SyFy or Chiller.

The Dark Shadows television series was almost brought back to life in 2004 by the WB, but the network passed on the pilot starring Alec Newman and other familiar faces: Marley Shelton (Valentine), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Alexander Gould and Martin Donovan (Weeds), Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges), Ivana Milicevic (Head over Heels), and Blair Brown (Fringe).  I am seriously bummed that this series didn’t make it.

So what makes Dark Shadows special?  Vampire Barnabas Collins

As if it wasn’t enough that Tim Burton is bringing Dark Shadows to the big screen, he cast one of the best actors of our time in the role of Barnabas Collins — the fabOoolous Johnny Depp.

Barnabas Collins, 2012

I’m a fan of vampires in general (the dark kind, not the lovey-dovey kind – yes, I’m referring to Twilight here).  The trailer has me worried that the film will be a bit “campy” for me, but I’m putting all preconceived notions aside and am looking forward to my movie date this weekend.  After all, Mr. Depp isn’t the only star cast in this cult classic: we also have Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass), Helena Bonham Carter, and Jackie Earle Haley (the “new” Freddy Krueger) to just name a few.

It’s also rumored that a few of the soap opera stars from the ’60s and ’70s will play a cameo in the film, something I truly appreciate.  Did everyone notice Chris Sarandon’s cameo in Fright Night (2011)?  Loved it – the “old” vampire Jerry killed by the “new” vampire Jerry.  Brilliant!

I don’t know what to expect from this movie, but I know I’m looking forward to it.  With the exception of The Rum Diary (in my opinion), everything Johnny Depp touches turns to gold.  Surely Dark Shadows will be another of his masterful character pieces and will leave all of us applauding him once again.  The man is simply fantastic.  Partnered again with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, how can it fail?

Are you a Dark Shadows fan?  Did you prefer the soap or the ’91 retelling?  Do you plan to see the movie?  I’d love to hear from you!

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Just How Desperate are They?

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to ABC and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of Desperate Housewives and Body of Proof

We all mourned the loss of the ‘80s night-time soap operas Falcon Crest, Dallas, and Knots Landing.  But in 2004, the genre was revived with Mark Cherry’s Desperate Housewives when the television world was introduced to a close group of residents on a unique street in a fictional town.

The series begins with the mystery surrounding Mary Alice Young’s (Brenda Strong) suicide, one of the housewives on Wisteria Lane.  Her death leaves behind devastation to her closest friends and her family (husband Paul, played by Mark Moses, and son Zach). 

Mary Alice narrates Desperate Housewives at the beginning and at the end of each episode; she shares her friend’s secrets and paints a picture for the audience explaining how and why the housewives make the decisions they do.

Meet Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher).

The series starts with Susan’s recent discovery that her husband Karl (Richard Burgi) has cheated on her.  She files for divorce and immediately takes a liking to the new neighbor, plumber Mike Delfino (James Denton), and marries him twice.  Susan is the classic train wreck – she’s quirky, loving, and genuine; but nothing seems to go her way. 

Meet Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman).

Lynette escapes her rough childhood by using her drive and intelligence to obtain a degree in Advertising.  She meets her husband Tom (Doug Savant) in college, and Lynette decides to change her career path to a stay-at-home-mom once she and Tom start a family.  Four kids later, the cabin fever sets in and Tom and Lynette switch roles – she goes back to work and he becomes Mr. Mom. 

Lynette’s ambitions take over and she begins to man-handle her husband constantly (think an alpha-dog or a my-way-or-the-highway sort of relationship).  Tom loves Lynette and for the longest time doesn’t fight back, until….sorry, no spoilers here.

Meet Bree Van de Camp (Marcia Cross).

Bree is described as Wisteria Lane’s Martha Stewart-Stepford Wife.  She’s a perfectionist and an obsessive compulsive with a side of neuroses.  A gun-toting Republican, Bree marries her first husband Rex (Steven Culp) and starts a picture-perfect family; until, that is, he cheats on her.  Bree files for divorce, Rex dies, Bree marries Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan), and Bree later files for divorce.   

In and out of relationships and marriages, Bree finds her solace in the kitchen.  She briefly owns and operates a gourmet catering business until Rex’s son, from an affair, blackmails it away from her.      

Meet Gabrielle “Gaby” Solis (Eva Longoria). 

Abused by her step father, Gaby flees Texas and never looks back.  She takes her beauty to New York, its runways, and its magazine covers.  After years of a successful modeling career, Gaby meets her husband Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira), a self-made wealthy and cut-throat businessman. 

These two have had it all – poverty and wealth, affairs and loyalty, blindness and beauty, superficial happiness and familiar bliss.  Kinda.  The laughs never stop with Gaby and Carlos; they are by far my favorite duo on the lane. 

Many other housewives have lived on the lane over the years including: Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan), the beautiful yet spiteful real estate agent, often times regarded to as the “neighborhood slut” by many of the girls for bedding Susan’s ex; Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard), the neighbor who keeps her son locked up in the basement; Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), the once-upon-a-time neighbor who returns with dark secrets surrounding the identity of her daughter; Angie Bolen (Drea de Matteo), the housewife running from the mafia; Renee Perry (Vanessa Williams), Lynette’s college best friend and recent divorce’ trying to define herself without her famous baseball player husband; and Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten), the senior citizen neighbor who supports, babysits, and provides a bit of a reality check to the over-the-top housewives.

Desperate Housewives is a television dramedy at its finest.  For this reason, I must award the ladies of Wisteria Lane with a MacTV rating.  Guilty Pleasure?  Check.  Not Perfect?  Check?  Satisfying?  Definitely, Check. 

Honestly, can’t you just picture Susan, Lynette, Gaby, and Bree curling up to watch Falcon Crest with a warm bowl of Mac-N-Cheese?  Okay, well maybe not Bree….unless it was baked gourmet style with green chilis and bread crumbs. 

From watching each and every one of the seasons, this eighth and final season should close with a bang.  The history of Desperate Housewives proves that no one is safe.  It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for some of the housewives to die or even go to jail.  It’s doubtful that Cherry will wrap everything up with a pretty red-bow, and for that, we thank you! 

Here’s to a doozy of a series finale coming this spring…..

What do you think? Have you watched Desperate Housewives?   Who is your favorite character? How do you think Mark Cherry will close out the series?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of a former Wisteria Lane housewife’s new show, Body of Proof

Come back next week when Amber and I talk some laughs with a double dose of TV’s new comedies: Suburgatory, New Girl, Up All Night, and 2 Broke Girls

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future. 

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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